Snack in a Backpack holds Mardi Gras event at Merciers Orchard

Community, News

Bringing a taste of New Orleans to the North Georgia Mountains was one goal of Snack in a Backpack (SIAB) organization. Lots of good food, festive music, and camaraderie of fellow Fannin County citizens gathering together to raise money for the SIAB program were a few other goals. Mercier Orchards graciously donated their facility for the gallant evening.

Each weekday Fannin County children are given meals at breakfast and lunch. On weekends many children who rely on school meals might go without nourishing food or not have enough to eat. Snack in a Backpack volunteers begin packing bags with non-perishable, healthy food on Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m. to ensure children have something to take home for the weekend.

Lee Walker, Dr. & Mrs. Michael Gwatney, Karl Wilson

School Superintendent Dr. Michael Gwatney said while standing in line for the buffet at the nights event, “The hardest decision I ever have to make is to close a school. If I have to delay a school opening, that means a child doesn’t get breakfast. Or if I have close the school for the day, the child does not get breakfast or lunch.”

Guests were treated with a wonderful array of foods on the buffet table cooked by chefs at Merciers Orchards. Food choices included chicken gumbo, shrimp and sausage jambalaya, and black-eyed peas among other snacks and salads. Popular choices of Louisiana cooks during Mardi Gras.

Desserts were made by local bakery artisans at Chester’s,Tonia Ross, and Sweet Shoppe of the South. Ross provided a two-layer sheet cake, Chester’s donated two pies, and Sweet Shoppe delivered cupcakes. All sweets definitely delighted the palates of the guests by the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ being heard in the room.

Rollin’ Blues Band

Attendees visited with each other, made bids for silent auction items on display in one of Merciers sales room while listening to Rollin’ Bones Band playing R & B, rock, and soul music. Winners of generous bids walked away with beautiful prizes and the funds go to Snack in a Backpack.

Mardi Gras themed Bringin’ the Blues to Blue Ridge was the 10th annual fundraiser for Snack in a Backpack.



Event table sponsors were:

  • A. D. Frazier Family.
  • America’s Home Place.
  • Blue Ridge Coin Shop.
  • Dickey-McCay Insurance.
  • United Community Bank.
  • Woodman Life (Richard York).


Volunteers are always welcome to help prepare the weekly bags or to deliver to designated schools. For more information contact Angela Huffstetler, program director at 706-851-8190 or

All donations are tax deductible. Personal and corporate donations help keep this much needed program successful and are sincerely appreciated. Donations can be made by cash, check or PayPal.
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